The Minister of Police, who is also the Deputy Chairperson of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, Fikile Mbalula launched the second phase of the multi-pronged crime-fighting operation dubbed ‘Operation Fiela II’ on 23 January 2017 in Newtown, Johannesburg.
The operation is a joint initiative of JCPS cluster departments. National Commissioner of Police Khehla Sitole outlined three key pillars of the operation, which are to arrest suspects of crime, remove criminals from society and close down places from which they operate. The first phase of Operation Fiela was launched in 2015 to primarily deal with the problem of illegal immigrants.
Minister Mbalula instructed crime-fighting personnel to wage a war against criminals. “We will go street by street. We will squeeze them and they will be brought to book. Criminals must be cornered,” he said. He called on the police to target and close down drug dens and brothels, and to dismantle the human trafficking syndicates. He rallied the police to transform police stations into centres of excellence that inspire hope and confidence among citizens.
The Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane pledged the provincial government’s support for the operation. She expressed hope that the operation will help increase police visibility and lead to a significant reduction in crime in the province. She implored the police to implement proactive policing.
Mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba said, “Residents of Johannesburg need to know that they can walk safely in their streets and live comfortably in their homes without fear of invasion and harm”. To this end, he said the city will recruit an additional 1 500 officers in the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD). He cited regular and successful raids on inner-city buildings which are conducted in conjunction with SAPS and Home Affairs. He said these joint operations are yielding positive results.
The objectives of Operation Fiela II are to:
- maintain law and order, peace, security and stability
- create a conducive environment for all South Africans to participate in social and economic activities in the country
- reclaim the areas that have been taken over by criminals
- provide humanitarian assistance and empower vulnerable and highly affected communities
- reaffirm the confidence of South Africans in the government.
The operation will run for a year, after which its impact will be assessed. Other dignitaries present at the launch included Minister of State Security Services, Bongani Bongo, Director-General of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Vusi Madonsela and DCS Chief Security Officer, Lucky Mthethwa.